Scarlets sensation George North scored twice on his International debut as Wales came close to toppling the world champions at the Millennium Stadium.
Wales 25 v 29 South Africa
South Africa won the thrilling encounter in Cardiff which condemned Wales to their second successive defeat this autumn.
An early Morne Steyn penalty was cancelled out as Stephen Jones and North combined for the afternoon’s first try.
Quick ball from the base and a slight of hand from Jones sent North racing through after just five minutes.
North then played provided for Wales a few minutes later as the giant winger powered his way twenty metres up-field into the South African half. The ball was spread wide to Shane Williams who darted through a gap and then off-loaded to James Hook who went over to score.
Steyn kicked two more penalties for the Boks, and Jones added one for his side as Wales went into the break 17-9 ahead.
South African fought back in the second period and scored two tries in quick succession through Willem Alberts and Victor Matfield.
Jones and North combined ahead as Wales brought themselves back to within a point. Jones’ cross-field kick bounced into the arms of the waiting North who touched down for his second.
Wales bombarded the visitor’s line in the last ten minutes but just could not find their way through for the final scores and South Africa ended the game on top.
Scotland 3 v 49 New Zealand
New Zealand comfortably swept aside Scotland in a one-sided affair at Murrayfield.
Andy Robinson’s men took the lead with an early penalty but from that point on it was one-way traffic as the All Blacks flexed their muscles and ran in seven tries.
After defeat to Australia in Hong Kong and an in-different performance at Twickenham seven days ago, New Zealand announced their arrival in Europe in style with Hosea Gear and Mils Muliaina each scoring a brace.
New Zealand raced into a 25-point half time lead with tries from Gear (2) and Dan Carter, the later finished with a 15-point haul.
Sonny Bill Williams was at the heart of almost every attack for the visitors and it was William’s offload which allowed Muilanina to dive over.
Conrad Smith and replacement scrum-half Andy Ellis added further scores and Stephen Donald kicked two conversions.
Ireland 20 v 10 Samoa
Ronan O’Gara finished with a fifteen point haul as Ireland stuttered to victory over Samoa.
The hosts had raced into a 10-0 lead in Dublin as Jamie Heaslip crossed for a first half try as the Irish forwards dented the Pacific Islanders defence with repeated pick and drives. O’Gara converted adding to an earlier penalty.
Samoa dominated the scrum and were rewarded for their pressure when Leicester winger Alesana Tuilagi raced clear to score, Tasesa Lavea added the conversion.
O’Gara and Lavea exchanged penalties before O’Gara crossed for the decisive try after 66 minutes.
The Munster fly-half skilfully made his way to the line after a quickly taken free kick from clubmate Peter Stringer.
Declan Kidney’s side will take the victory ending a run of six successive defeats but the performance leaves a lot to be desired ahead of the visit of Tri-Nations champions New Zealand next weekend.
Italy 16 v 22 Argentina
Argentina took the victory in an error-surne encounter in Vernoa.
In a fierce up-front battle neither team managed to gain the upper hand, the difference between the teams ended up being the boot of former Leinster fly-half Felipe Contepomi.
Contepomi and Mirco Bergamasco exchanged early penalties before Martin Rodriguez crossed for the first try early in the second-half to put the visitors ahead.
Italy we awarded a late penalty try but it was South American’s who ended the game in front.